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Thread: Static shock hazzard or not?

  1. #1
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    Static shock hazzard or not?

    I added a dust collector to my shop this summer. I used PVC pipe for my runs. One of them runs down a wall that I had insulation between the studs. I removed the insulation at the time to get it all fitted but now I wonder if I will have any stactic issues by adding the insulation back. There are also electric wires going through this section.
    Note: this is on the outside wall of my shop. My dust collector is in the other half of my building and I ran PVC through the walls.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    It's not what you achieve in life...It's what you overcome!

  2. #2
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    Well, to start the debate. Yes you will have static, but shouldn't hurt the insulation. Your static comes from movement of the dust through the pipes mostly. Some folks take the bare copper wire and either wrap the pipe or run the wire in and out of it to help discharge static. If you run the wire, ground one end to your collector or a near by outlet.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  3. #3
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    Let's start with the ground wire, lightning rods on the roof, a grounding chain hanging down from your belt, don't wear silk garments.......especially underwear, rubber soled shoes............yep.........that should cover it. Maybe a hat made from aluminum foil.............ya jus' never know.

    Plan on an annoying shock when you least expect it but don't worry about being blown up because there is sawdust in the air. Like Darren said, ground the system.

  4. #4
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    Let's start with the ground wire, lightning rods on the roof, a grounding chain hanging down from your belt, don't wear silk garments.......especially underwear, rubber soled shoes............yep.........that should cover it. Maybe a hat made from aluminum foil.............ya jus' never know.

    Plan on an annoying shock when you least expect it but don't worry about being blown up because there is sawdust in the air. Like Darren said, ground the system.

  5. #5
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    So I should have a bare wire runing through my pipes then exit the pipe somewhere at the dust collector and attach it to the metal frame of the dust collector. Do I have that correct?
    It's not what you achieve in life...It's what you overcome!

  6. #6
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    Oh look, a hornet's nest! Lemme poke at that a bit...

    Honestly, I wouldn't worry at ALL about it.

    Leave it for a bit - see if you get any nuisance shocks that you can't stand to tolerate. I've seen reports that after awhile the static buildup reduces significantly as a fine film of dust settles on the inside walls of the PVC. Static buildup is caused by dissimilar materials passing past each other - i.e. dust + pvc. When there's a fine film of dust on the surface of the PVC, it's then dust + dust and very little buildup happens, eliminating many users' static issues.

    It's impossible to ground an insulator, since insulators don't conduct electricity and PVC is an insulator. Secondly, STATIC electricity is named such because it doesn't flow (because it can't, it's built up on an insulator!). A wire may discharge some of it, but only a very little in the immediate vicinity of the wire itself. It may be enough that you notice - it may not. It's a little bit of work and I would suggest holding off until you know you have a problem first.
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA

  7. #7
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    Not sure if any of this applies to the question, but I'll throw it out for consideration. I have a Delta 50-850 with clear flex. Lots of static, but didn't worry about it--uncomfortable at times but not a big deal. I added a galvanized trash can with a LV lid. The can is on the concrete floor. With the can in the picture the static issue has totally disappeared.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Baugues View Post
    So I should have a bare wire runing through my pipes then exit the pipe somewhere at the dust collector and attach it to the metal frame of the dust collector. Do I have that correct?
    NO!!!! I ran a DC system for the 14 years with PVC & no ground wire it will nip you a bit for a while & after a while when it gets good & dirty it won't. Ground wire on the inside of the pipe is just asking for a plugged duct.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
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  9. #9
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    I think there are arguments both directions.

    There are those that have run for years without issues and I've heard of people having fires. I wonder if some of those had a similar problem as Bryan Cowing did a few weeks back with a dull bit causing a spark and that getting sucked into the collector. Growing up we used to take a bucket of dad's sawdust out to the burn barrel and take handfuls and toss them in the hot fire. It was like the magicians with their puff of smoke or like watching a cup of gas thrown on a fire...poof.

    I'm probably going to ground my pipes, but will probably spiral it around outside the length of the pipes. Mostly to ground any build-up, but I look at it as cheap insurance.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  10. #10
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    Absolutely for sure it's your shop, do what makes you feel better.

    I just want to point out that it's a myth that a home shop DC could have a fire due to static build up on PVC ducting. There isn't enough energy in the arcs to ignite the dust, thankfully. Yeah, we've all heard about flour silos blowing up - totally different scale, here - vastly larger charges and particle concentrations. Apples to oranges for sure. It's more likely that an ember or hot steel spark will ignite the dust in the bag of your DC before any cloud of dust we could produce would be.

    I won't keep poking the hornets nest - if anyone's curious, this is one good source that explains it in pretty plain english: http://home.comcast.net/~rodec/woodw.../DC_myths.html

    There are lots of them but that's probably my favorite source for compiling it all in one area and making it easy for me to understand.

    FOR SURE - do what makes you feel safe. In the spirit of information, my reason for bringing it up is to present what I have learned from. Your shop, your rules.
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA

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